For years I worked in the food industry. The slinging subs sector I was a part of had one day a year that the store was closed- Christmas Day. The Fourth of July had plenty of business, especially when it came to the night shift. While there is money to be made by being open on holidays- honoring our short sightedness and laziness “I forgot the charcoal etc.”- I think we have lost sight of what these days should be about. Some things should transcend money, I know a sacrilegious statement for modern America.
For the past seven years I have been in jobs that either begrudgingly honoring bank holidays or have many of these community days as paid days off. I hope to never lose my grateful feelings for this. Whether it is a family day at home or we head off to my parents to have a cook out I treasure these moments, despite not taking part in the traditional fireworks on the 4th.
My six year old is just cracking the ice on staying up to 8:30. She doesn’t care for loud sounds. It just doesn’t fit at this point and my wife and I are not such fans of pomp and circumstance to force her to attend such an event. I look forward to her wanting to go, but that is when trips to fireworks will begin.
A memory of the 4th of July that stands out for me is when I was 10 years old or so. I believe we ate a very early meal that day so after fireworks in Delaware Park we decided to search out a pizzeria to pick a pie up. It was 1984. We passed 8 pizzerias before we found Dipalo’s open. It was not our usual place, but it was the only one open. As if it happened yesterday I remember a pudgy guy in the corner of the store let out the most obnoxious live burp I have ever witnessed. It was gross. It was loud and had the sound of a dirty burp at the end. Some memories stay with you that you wish you could let go. I am happy one of mine is so benign.
The Fourth of July to me is always about summer, red white and blue and being thankful of all we have. I think I have that right, but it is only part of what the day should represent. I think we could use a bit more of the spirit of our forefathers in our society. It is good to count your blessings and savor the positive in your life. It is also good to fight injustice and take a more active role in making what is around you better.
My wife and I have lived that way our whole lives together. Every place we have lived or worked we tried to leave it better than we found it. Sometimes the successes are small and other times quite large. I have been lucky enough to have had people thank me for what I brought to their life. I can’t imagine much outside of my family’s love being more rewarding than that.
To be fair, I should only take so much credit for that. It is tied to who I am, I have always wanted to help others, share of what I have and of myself. To act as if it has always taken some effort would be disingenuous.
Of late, boy it has been hard. Tested daily and tested often. Then a day like today comes along, with all of its meaning, all of its history. I look around and don’t see soldiers quartered in my home and while there have been many infringements on freedom no direct effect has tainted my household. That does not make the choking of freedom any less real or dangerous.
I often read with a sad smirk on my face both sides of the aisle promoting their adherence with the values of our forefathers. Personally I think they would be furious at the way government has elevated itself to a level or aristocracy. Serve in congress, get a sweet retirement deal. Keep your foot out of your mouth and your privates in your pants, prepare for a cushy twenty year career. We need to get back to a representation of the country, not a representation of the lawyer, doctors and elite.
I want to see Joe the construction worker do a 2 year stint in the House. Yes I would even like to see the pizza baker do a jaunt in the Senate… OK maybe just 2 in the house. None of this seems possible with the money stacked against the interest of the common man. Perhaps someone should start a kickstarter campaign- Joe average for Congress.
There is a vote I would be proud of, not the usual lesser of two evils.